The 10 best death penalty movies are normally anti-death penalty stories, showing what happens when a man who is not guilty is sentenced to death. There is also a number of movies that follows people who get to know the accused on the way to the execution.

  1. “Paths of Glory” – Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this is one of the greatest death penalty movies ever made. When French soldiers sent on a suicide pact are betrayed by their commanding officers, their direct commander represents them in their court marshal, where they face death by firing squad if found guilty.

  2. “The Thin Blue Line” – This documentary is one of the best death penalty movies ever made if, for no other reason, than because it helped clear the name of the man sitting on death row. The accused is a Texas man, arrested and found guilty for a murder he never committed.

  3. “The Green Mile” – Based on the Stephen King novel, this remains one of the best death penalty movies of all time. A large African American man is found guilty of murdering two young girls and is sentenced to death. While on death row, we learn he is innocent but there is no way to stop his inevitable execution.

  4. “Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman” – This movie tells the true-life story of Albert Pierrepoint, Britain’s official hangman from 1932 until 1956. Pierrepoint executed over 400 individuals, including around 200 Nazi war criminals over his distinguished career.

  5. “Capote” – This film is based on the encounters between true-crime author Truman Capote and convicted murderer Perry Smith. The interviews became the novel “In Cold Blood” and the movie documenting them remains one of the best death penalty movies of all time.

  6. “Dead Man Walking” – While heavy handed at times, this remains one of the best death penalty movies of all time. Sean Penn plays a man on death row who killed a young couple and Susan Sarandon is the religious woman that he turns to for help in his final days.

  7. “The Star Chamber” – This is an interesting movie from the early ‘80s that looks at how a group of judges deal with men who get off of their crimes in one of the best death penalty movies. The judges set up the Star Chamber, where they pass out death penalties to criminals who slip through the cracks.       

  8. “Shocker” – This Wes Craven horror movie is a lot of fun and one of the best death penalty movies made. A serial killer is put to death in the electric chair but, thanks to a deal with the devil, is able to possess people after his death and continue his murdering ways.

  9. “True Crime” – Clint Eastwood is a journalist assigned to cover the execution of a convicted murderer in one of the best death penalty movies of all time. When the journalist discovers that the man might be innocent, he sets out to discover the truth before it is too late.

  10. “The Life of David Gale” – This is one of the most heavy handed of the best death penalty movies. Kevin Spacey plays a man found guilty of murder and awaits his execution on death row. The entire movie is designed to show what happens when an innocent man is put to death by the state.